READ: Philippians 4:10-13
- The word translated “concern” occurs 26 times in the New Testament; 23 of those by Paul; 10 of those in Philippians. It first occurs in chapter 2:2 (twice) where it describes the “mind” of those who care about the kingdom. It occurs in 2:5, where it serves to bridge the ideas of how to think rightly about the church with the way Christ seeks to live life. It shows up in 3:16 (twice) and 19, each reflecting a way of thinking. In 4:2, it indicates agreement (thinking alike).
- The Philippians had been “thinking about” Paul—they were concerned about him. Something had prohibited any actual help being offered until just recently when their concern re-blossomed in action. The absence of contact wasn’t disconcerting to Paul because he knew them, trusted them, and believed they were always concerned (thinking about) him. Had they been able to be tangibly helpful, they would have.
- We were reminded last week that gospel responsibility is primarily relational. We show concern for people because “people become people through people.” The context for this text that focuses on contentment (v11) centers around the relationships that Paul depended upon for ministry and life. He knew that life is relational. To survive the highs and lows that come with life (including ministry life), we need people to help us along. Even if they don’t offer any concrete help, just knowing they are there is often all the help we need.
- Jot down the names of a few of those who are out there being concerned for you.
- For whom are you the one (even though unable to measurably help) who is still there?
- How are the various ways that “concern” is translated (mind, agreement, concern) related?
PRAY: Thank God for those who have shown you concern. Pray for those you believe might need support right at this moment. Ask God to help you be the kind of person who is out there caring for someone.